Capsicum annuum CCR4-associated factor CaCAF1 is necessary for plant development and defence response


  • School of Biological Sciences and Technology, Chonnam National University, Kwangju 500-757, Korea.

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The CCR4-associated factor 1 (CAF1) protein belongs to the CCR4-NOT complex, which is an evolutionary conserved protein complex and plays an important role in the control of transcription and mRNA decay in yeast and mammals. To investigate the function of CAF1 in plants, we performed gain- and loss-of-function studies by overexpression of the pepper CAF1 (CaCAF1) in tomato and virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of the gene in pepper plants. Overexpression of CaCAF1 in tomato resulted in significant growth enhancement, with increasing leaf thickness, and enlarged cell size by more than twofold when compared with the control plants. A transmission electron microscopic analysis revealed that the CaCAF1-transgenic tomato plants had thicker cell walls and cuticle layers than the control plants. In addition to developmental changes, overexpression of CaCAF1 in tomato plants resulted in enhanced resistance against the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Additionally, microarray, northern and real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses of CaCAF1-transgenic tomato plants revealed that multiple genes were constitutively upregulated, including genes involved in polyamine biosynthesis, defence reactions and cell-wall organogenesis. In contrast, VIGS of CaCAF1 in pepper plants caused significant growth retardation and enhanced susceptibility to the pepper bacterial spot pathogen Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vesicatoria. Our results suggest roles for plant CAF1 in normal growth and development, as well as in defence against pathogens.